Goa has no ear for Bollywood music

By Mayabhushan Nagvenkar, IANS
Sunday, November 7, 2010

PANAJI - “Munni badnaam hui”, the rambunctious song from the blockbuster “Dabangg”, simply won’t get you the wolf whistles here. Music lovers in Goa, known for its nightclubs and head-banging dos, do not simply connect to Bollywood music.

Popular DJs - just about readying themselves for a rise in party temperature as tourists descend in hordes - continue to be bewildered at the lukewarm response to Bollywood tracks in the state even as they are a rage elsewhere in the country.

“In clubs and discotheques down here, the crowd overwhelmingly prefers English or Western music. In some cases, youth do not even want to be seen dancing to a Hindi track, however popular,” said DJ Sulaiman, who specialises in dishing out Bollywood and other Hindi music.

Sulaiman, a senior DJ in the very volatile field, regularly tours the nightclub hotspots around the country, including Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai, and abroad.

Even though hard rock, hip-hop and house music rock the show at clubs in Bangalore and Hyderabad, the distaste for Bollywood is not as strong as it is here.

“Goans like to be thought of as special. Hindi music is often considered slapstick among youth here,” Sulaiman said.

“Considering Goa’s strong regional identity, music lovers do not want to associate themselves with folks from other states, who mostly prefer Bollywood music. Save for some NRI or corporate events (where people from other states land up), Bollywood music takes a beating here,” he added.

DJ Ajit, an in-house DJ for the famous Baga-based Club Tito’s, said: “Goa is different and Western in many ways, music being one of them. Bollywood has less effect on crowds here as it has outside, especially since Hindi movies haven’t made inroads into the Goan psyche,” he said.

A tour of the state’s many night hotspots only affirms what the two premier DJs have to say.

While trance music - and its sub genres like psychedelic trance and Goa trance - is the god of all music played at nightspots, retro, latino and a crazy list of other genres dominate the club’s schedules. Nights dedicated to Bollywood music find a place, but only rarely.

However, there are some tracks that do click.

“After all, the bottom line is we’re all Indians. Songs like ‘It’s the time to disco’, ‘Where’s the party tonight?’ and their remixes are a hit among foreigners too. They ask for it,” Sulaiman said.

Ajit believes it is the legacy the Portuguese left behind on Goa’s culture and ethos that is responsible for the resistance to Bollywood music. “People are more inclined towards a Western culture here,” he said.

Goa, with its beaches and music-dominated nightlife in the coastal areas, attracts nearly 2.4 million tourists annually.

(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at mayabhushan@gmail.com)

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